Should Smoking be Banned in Public Places?

Should Smoking be Banned in Public Places?

Smoking, in the United States, is ruled entirely by individual state laws, as the United States Congress has not yet enacted any nationwide federal ban. The following article debates on whether smoking should be banned in public places or not.
OpinionFront Staff
Looking at the health hazards of smoking, including lung cancer, impotency, asthma, and heart disease, banning it in public places is long time due. However, this is just one of the viewpoints. Most smokers and many restaurant owners will sing an altogether different tune with regards to this matter. So, let's get to the bottom of this debate by looking at arguments for and against a ban on smoking in public places.

Arguments For
  • The number one advantage is that a ban will not only help in saving smokers from various kinds of health conditions and diseases, but also reduce the damages caused by passive smoking. Whether the smoker is using public transport or is in a restaurant, the people around him are bound to inhale the smoke coming out of his cigarette, thus making them prone to all the diseases an active smoker gets. Thus, if smoking is banned, spread of these diseases can be checked. Moreover, asthma and ear infections are commonly seen in children who live around smokers. So, a ban makes these public places safer for children and teens, health-wise.
  • Another argument is that it will put pressure on the smoker to quit. Since he will be unable to smoke in public places, he will learn how to live without it for long hours. Moreover, when he does not see anybody around him smoking or smelling of cigarette, it might reduce his urge to smoke as well. Thus, one of the major advantages of a ban is that it induces the notion to quit smoking.
  • One of the facts is that smoking in public spaces influences non-smokers, especially adolescents, to take it up as well. Since teens are in an impressionable age, when they see people around them smoking, they get instigated to try it. Hence, it becomes a habit, increasing the incidence of teen smoking.
  • Looking from the economic point of view, since smoking is a major contributing factor to many diseases, it leads to absenteeism from work. Moreover, employees tend to take breaks now and then to smoke, thus lowering the number of hours they put in their work. So, if employers want to increase work productivity and ensure that their employees remain healthy, they should ban smoking in and around office premises.
  • Another factor to be taken in account is the environmental point of view. Smoking cigarettes adds to air pollution. So if it's banned, it will help save the environment from further deterioration.
Arguments Against
  • Smoking is an individual's personal choice. If the government forces people to quit smoking, it is encroaching on individual freedom.
  • Secondly, banning smoking is actually a financial loss for the government, as it collects a lot of revenue through the taxes on cigarette sales.
  • Another argument is that it is human tendency to do exactly those things which are forbidden. So, if smoking is banned in public places, adults and teens are more likely to smoke and find their own means to evade this law, to continue with the habit.
  • From the economic point of view, restaurant, pub, and cafe owners will not be able to cater to everyone. This will reduce their sales, thus causing them losses. Places where smoking is banned might see a reduction in tourist arrivals as well.
  • Lastly, when smokers who are habitual and addicted, may experience smoking withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anger, etc, if they cannot smoke immediately. Thus, in this condition and under stress, they might pose a problem to others.
In spite of the above arguments against the ban, looking at the harmful effects of smoking, a ban would be beneficial for the environment as well as mankind. However, for such a ban to be useful, the key lies in implementing it so effectively, that the cons or arguments against the ban are sufficiently nullified.